Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho

Song Cau District, Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam
Book from GBP Book from £334 per night

Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho

Song Cau District, Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam

A stunning beach resort on Vietnam's little-visited mid east coast, with luxe villas, watersports, spa and fine dining

A stunning beach resort on Vietnam's little-visited mid east coast, with luxe villas, watersports, spa and fine dining

Vietnam has over 2,000 miles of coastline, and huge swathes of it remain untouched by tourist development. Think white powder beaches, shimmering paddy fields, and seafront hamlets where coracle boats, fishing nets and reed baskets are still crafted by hand. This is one such spot – a half-mile beach at the tip of a spidery peninsula south of sub-radar Qui Nhon – and it's an absolute jewel.

We first visited the bay in 2015, when there were only five villas. Hearing it was slated for expansion, we held our breaths – and then let out a big sigh of relief to hear it was our friends at Zannier, the pioneers behind Sonop, Omaanda and Phum Baitang. These guys have mastered the art of sustainable luxury in spectacular, remote settings. Launched in late 2020, Bai San Ho remains a boutique resort: its 73 villas (from 1 to 4 bedrooms) are comfortably swallowed by a bay this size; the hotel melts into its natural surroundings. The villas are beautifully designed with reclaimed timbers, bamboo, inside-outside living spaces, pared-back interiors and phenomenal attention to detail. The service – be it in the beach bar, the three restaurants (good food and cocktails on tap), the kids club, or the watersports- and activity centre – comes with big smiles and genuine kindness. And those magnificent views, that huge infinity pool! It doesn't really get any better than this.

Highs

  • The fine-sand, half-mile beach is the star of the show: fringed by palms and pines, dotted with exquisite shells, crashing waves, and bare minimum visual intrusion
  • There's tons to do: tennis, yoga, spa, watersports (from sailing to efoils), fishing villages to visit, even a golf course nearby
  • And the snorkelling is superb – the resort's name means 'Bay of Corals' – with year-round warm waters
  • Their commitment to sustainability is admirable: recycled building materials, 600 re-planted trees, no single-use plastics, and rice from their own paddies (with excess harvest being donated locally). They are the temporary caretakers of the bay and seem genuinely dedicated to protecting it
  • The breakfast buffet is a dream, an epic spread

Lows

  • Make no mistake, it's a long journey – an hour from Qui Nhon's domestic airport, 4 hours by road or rail from Nha Trang. We hear an expressway is being built which will reduce the transfer time but is likely to open the area up; enjoy it now while you can!
  • Occasional big waves can make sea swimming tricky – but there's a panoramic pool, plus private plunge pools in most villas
  • Hillside paths mean it's not suitable for the infirm or for pushchairs, but free bikes and buggies around the resort can assist; if in the hilltop villas you need to plan ahead a little for lifts to the beach and restaurants
  • At quieter times of year only two restaurants and about half of the villas are open
  • This is a slightly bigger property than most i-escape hotels

Best time to go

This part of Vietnam has 9-10 months of sunshine per year (September to November being the exception), with temperatures around 30C for much of the time. January to April would be our pick; Christmas and New Year are fun too, though sometimes windy. In high summer (June to August), the heat can get uncomfortable - but the villas have air-con. The sea is swimmable for most of the year, though you may encounter big waves from September to December.

Our top tips

After the long journey, the perfect tonic is their signature two-hour Hoa Sen Ritual, which includes healthy teas, a herbal foot wash, a detox mud-based skincare, gentle foot and facial acupressure, and a full body treatment (courtesy of two therapists) using oils infused with ancient indigenous herbs.

If you have the time try and explore the area a little – there are some stunning beaches up and down this coast with nothing but rough and ready fishing villages using them. It’s a slice of pure untamed Vietnam coast which is magical and getting harder to find. Catch it while you can.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Romantic
Eco
Foodie
  • Boutique Resort
  • 73 villas for 2-8
  • Restaurants & bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Hill Pool Villas

Rooms

Spread across the 240-acre bay and surrounding hillsides, Bai San Ho's 73 villas range from 1 to 4 bedrooms and 4 different categories, based on position and view.

Throughout, the style is all natural muted eco-chic: reclaimed floor timbers, traditional reed ceilings and cob-plastered walls, pepped up with decorative calabash gourds, handwoven bamboo baskets and conical leaf hats. All come with comfy kingsize beds, deep bathtubs and power showers, minibar and tea/coffee facilities (or full kitchen in the Grand Bay villas); and all but the Paddy Field villas have their own pool – which is surprisingly large!

Top of the pile are the Grand Bay Pool Villas, inspired by ancient Ede long houses. With 3 or 4 bedrooms and 300 sq.m of inside space, they're perfect for two families travelling together, or a family coming with grandparents and/or nanny. Best of all, perhaps, are the uninterrupted sea views from the pool and large outdoor sitting-dining terrace – even from the bathtub!

The wonderful Beach Pool Villas have barefoot access straight onto the sands. With cooling wooden claustra screens, outdoor showers, plunge pool, private deck, two ensuite bathrooms and a kitchen corner, we think the two-bedroom versions in particular are perfect for a family.

A notch cheaper are the Hillside Pool Villas perched up amid lush greenery. We stayed in a one-bedroom villa, these are perfect for honeymooners as the most remote and private, and come with incredible views over coastline and lagoons plus huge pools and inside/outside living areas. Note you'll have to order a buggy to take you down to the beach and restaurants.

If your budget only stretches to the entry-level (and still spacious) Terrace and Paddy Field Villas, don't panic. They may lack plunge pools and long views, but you're ensconced in greenery around the gardens and rice paddies, and the beds and bathtub are equally luxurious – and half the price of the Hillsides.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

With three on-site restaurants offering multiple different cuisines, you can comfortably rotate between them without getting bored. Chefs take pride in delighting all the senses: beautiful plate arrangements for the eye, fresh spices for the nose, crispy finger food for touch. And are passionate about balancing opposites – be it salty and sweet, fresh and fermented, warming and cooling.

On the hillside next to reception with a separate cocktail bar at the huge outdoor infinity pool, Nhà O is the resort's main restaurant. We absolutely loved breakfast here – a total smorgasbord from around the world: everything from stinky French cheese with fresh sourdough breads to local sizzling beef, crispy pork belly and coconut coffee; fresh fruit platters, cured meats and cheese, pastries, eggs any way.

The menu for other meals showcases traditional Vietnamese dishes from different regions as well as a couple of pizza and pasta dishes. Expect plentiful seafood, pork and chicken, broths and dumplings; plus mouth-watering desserts from the exotic (raspberry and lemongrass soup with mangosteen) to the Gallic (chocolate mousse with coffee & Chantilly). We feasted on Bun Cha (BBQ pork on noodles with mixed leaves and dipping sauce) and a spicy tofu stir fry with greens and glass noodles – all really delicious.

For something more adventurous, Bà Hai offers traditional Vietnamese cuisine in an equally traditional setting: a stilted barn (with 12m-high thatched roof!) overlooking the paddy fields. The set menu covers classics like Pho (beef broth) and spring rolls (with crab meat and dipping sauce), and a few outliers such as Hanoi-style seasoned pork with dried mushroom pastry and bean sprouts. They're paired with handpicked organic teas, and rounded off with a shot of local rice wine. In quieter months this restaurant closes, and is used for cooking classes and private dining.

If you prefer a more laid-back beachfront vibe for lunch, book a thatched hut at Lang Chai for fresh-grilled seafood and meats, alongside a shortlist of Asian options, to the backdrop of rumbling waves. We had beautifully presented fried spring rolls (crab), stir fried morning glory and beef and noodle salad.

Plentiful wines, beers and cocktails are to be had; plus fantastic fruit blends for the non-drinkers (dragonfruit and guava ginger beer, anyone?).

Guests in Grand Bay Villas also have a full kitchen at their disposal: either book a chef, or give a shopping list to a Guest Assistant who will return with the goods, and utensils to prepare it (both these options are at extra cost).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • On your doorstep is a 1-km blond-sand beach, fringed by palms and pines, studded with pink rocks and exquisite shells, and washed by surfing-friendly warm waves
  • The snorkelling is superb, with coral reefs and basalt rock columns just offshore, and equipment to borrow. It's free – along with the kayaks and SUPs
  • Or sail across the bay on a windsurfer, hydrofoil or catamaran, even on water skis or a wakeboard – for a small fee
  • Daily changing free morning activities could include guided local walks or beginners yoga
  • Work up a sweat on the tennis or padel courts, in the gym, or with a game of beach volleyball
  • Follow a walking trail into the hills above the resort for views over the whole peninsula; picnics can be supplied
  • Learn traditional fishing techniques from the locals on a long boat excursion
  • Borrow bikes to explore the neighbouring villages, shrimp farms, salt fields and fresh food markets
  • Chill out in the spa – which offers massages, herbal therapies, acupressure, plant-based elixirs, meditations and marine skincare
  • Staff can arrange trips to the wooded Van Hoa Plateau or the bird-rich O Loan Lagoon, as well as cookery lessons, lobster farm visits, or a tour of local Cham temples. But in all honesty, there are probably better places in Vietnam to do these, so we'd advise just kicking back and enjoying the life of a 5-star castaway!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • SUP
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Volleyball
  • Watersports
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

This is a fantastic option with kids who love beaches, watersports and a bit of adventure, so long as their parents don't mind a long journey and some strong tropical sunshine.

The kids club (open daily from 8 am till 6 pm) welcomes kids aged 2-12 with indoor and outdoor play areas, activities such as ping-pong, badminton, board games, crafts, and story-reading in the library or outside on hammocks.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom villas are ideal for most families, with one kingsize double and one double/twin (both ensuite), plus space for a cot or two; and a private plunge pool. Some Paddy Villas interconnect but we think the Beachfront ones are worth the small extra cost compared to the Hillsides (which are also harder to negotiate with buggies); these latter ones are closer to the pool. Larger families will have to upgrade to a Grand Bay villa with 3 or 4 bedrooms; this brings with it a full kitchen, large outdoor decks and a bigger pool with infinity edges.

Babysitting:

Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Car seats

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Windsurfing
  • Sailing
  • SUP
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Beach volleyball
  • Cooking (pastry) class

Distances:

  • Airport: 4 hours (Nha Trang), 1.5 hours (Qui Nhon/Tuy Hoa)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Bai San Ho is on the east coast of Vietnam, about 35km south of Qui Nhon (or Quy Nhon) city. It's 200km north of Nha Trang and 340-350km south of Hoi An and Danang.

By Air
Both Qui Nhon (also called Phu Cat, 1 hour's drive) and Tuy Hoa (also called Dong Tac, 1.5 hours) have domestic flights from HCMC and Hanoi. The nearest international airport is Cam Ranh, outside Nha Trang, which is a good 4 hours' drive away.

By Train
The Reunification Express, which runs the length of Vietnam, stops at Dieu Tri just outside Qui Nhon, offering a fun alternative to flying if you're feeling adventurous. It takes 3.5-5 hours from Nha Trang, or 4-6 hours from Danang, so the 'Express' tag is a bit of a misnomer. See Seat 61 for more details.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Phu Cat 65.0 km UIH
  • Cam Ranh (Nha Trang) 215.0 km CXR

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho

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